by Cait Collins
I love the fun of Halloween. Kids and adults dressed up and pretending to be someone or something they aren’t is part of the holiday. I just don’t get the all the slasher, zombie, and thriller costumes. Whatever happened to doctors and nurses, cops and robbers, cute little witches and devils? It seems these days the more gruesome the costume, the more hefty the sales. What is the draw to being scared or grossed out?
Take books as an example. I’ve read good horror and I’ve read terrible horror. The bad novels are usually good for a laugh. In attempting to be frightening, the stories can become campy and silly. The good stuff I can’t read. Sorry, but I don’t like being frightened. I tried reading Stephen King’s IT. When I got to the description of the cellar, I had to close the book. King is so masterful with his description, he terrifies me. I could not only see the cellar, I could feel it, smell it, and taste it. That’s too real.
Think about it. What is more frightening; a zombie or a boy-next-door serial killer. I’m more frightened by reality, by something that could actually happen than fantasy characters. I couldn’t sleep after reading Helter Skelter. Charles Manson is far scarier than the Phantom of the Opera. Reality is makes good fiction because a writer has a plot and characters at hand.
I may not enjoy ghouls and goblins, but I appreciate the talent it takes to write good horror. The Stephen Kings, R. L. Steins, and Dean Koontz’s are rare and should be respected. That said; forgive me if I prefer my suspense and women’s fiction books.
I think once an author establishes a reputation for writing chilling horror their readers allow them more freedom to embellish without actually making sense because the reader knows it is all good clean reading fun. But yes, real life monsters are by far the scariest.